ET2005 (13)

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aenean ac dolor facilisis, pellentesque turpis ac, posuere ex. Integer dictum neque nec feugiat tristique. Nam interdum tempor augue, at eleifend augue interdum fringilla. Maecenas eget augue et mauris eleifend lacinia. Duis ac nunc mauris. Nullam venenatis dui eu purus pulvinar gravida. Integer ante dui, laoreet porttitor sagittis ac, condimentum et ligula. Quisque hendrerit nisi sit amet neque volutpat auctor vel rhoncus ligula. Donec ut tempor libero.

 Surrender to multinationals

India is about to lose on the home front what it had won in Geneva--its Patent Ordinance gives pharmaceutical multinationals what the United States had failed to win for them at the negotiating table. Read full article This article is reproduced here with the author’s consent. It is also featured in the February 23rd edition of The Economic Times. Representing the interests of its ultra-powerful pharmaceutical multinationals, the United States had pushed for a very high level of patent protection for medicines during the Uruguay Round negotiations. India, which had witnessed its poor benefit greatly from the low-cost generic-drugs industry that grew around its relatively weak patent regime for medicines, had led the fight against this U.S. push. In the end, though the United State was largely successful in achieving its objectives, India managed to push a set of flexibilities into the Uruguay Round Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that could be used to protect the interests of the consumers against those of the multinationals. It now appears, however, that India too has capitulated to…

Continue reading...

Reform the Top Civil Service

In India, under the Parliamentary system, the Cabinet must be selected from among the Members of Parliament who, for the most part, are career politicians. As such the chances that experts will hold the Cabinet positions are negligible. This fact places the top-level bureaucracy in India in an enormously privileged position: most Cabinet members look to their secretaries for guidance when it comes to policymaking. Under such circumstances, if the secretaries and those immediately below them also happen to lack the necessary expertise, we run the risk of blind leading the blind. Economic Times, January 26, 2005 The forthcoming budget will test the resolve of the UPA government to put economic reforms back on the fast track. Politically feasible reforms include the adoption of a 15 percent uniform tariff on all imports, a unified value added tax on goods and services as outlined in the Kelkar report on the implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, taming of the deficit as required by the FRBM Act, and slashing the list of small-scale-industries (SSI) reservation to 100 items…

Continue reading...

Muddles on Forex for Infrastructure

The best economists of India, both inside and outside the government, are locked in a fierce debate on the proposal for swapping infrastructure for foreign exchange reserves, put forth by the Planning Commission. A key concern raised in the debate is that dollars can be spent only on imports while infrastructure largely requires the acquisition of domestic resources. Careful analysis reveals, however, that at least this concern is without foundation: the import intensity of infrastructure is virtually irrelevant to the final outcome!The best economists of India, both inside and outside the government, are locked in a fierce debate on the proposal for swapping infrastructure for foreign exchange reserves, put forth by the Planning Commission. Read full article Abstract: The best economists of India, both inside and outside the government, are locked in a fierce debate on the proposal for swapping infrastructure for foreign exchange reserves, put forth by the Planning Commission (PC). A key concern raised in the debate is that dollars can be spent only on imports while infrastructure largely requires the acquisition of domestic resources. Careful analysis reveals, however,…

Continue reading...